Original Brand Manufacturing

Rekanegara Series #11
Pitfalls and Challenges in the Ecosystem.

Can Malaysian designers create their own products that are worthy of a brand that is a global standard?

Does our ecosystem support product commercialisation?

How do we move up the value chain?

Malaysian Industrial Designer & An Academician
Having operated his product design consultancy for 20 years and completed more than 500 projects, he decided to focus on his niche and passion which are education and research work. Now he teaches industrial design related subjects in academia.

He also serves as an external assessor and an industry panel for universities and colleges. Being an active speaker in the industry, he relentlessly promotes awareness in industrial design and offers services in Product Design (Hard and Soft). This is something he finds rejuvenating.

Occasionally he is invited to conduct workshops in Design & Business (How to leverage design in your business). He is currently pursuing his PhD in Management (Design & Business).

As a hobby, he is actively experimenting with interactive art and sound involving digital and analogue domain.

We have come quite a long way, from learning the ropes through apprenticeship and hard knocks from industry people and businesses, to acquiring the same kind of knowledge and information by just clicking our way through the internet today. It could have been by starting a career from home or being employed as a designer, industrial design has been around for many decades in our country.

We learned from our esteemed guest, Mr Eekang Ooi that 10 or more years ago, we were already doing OBM work through OEM jobs but were probably naive or blind-sided to know that. We were already dealing with major international players with their very clear and well-planned marketing strategies. One sure thing was, and still is, how international brand owners and their marketing directors have more regards and acceptance of a designer’s role and function in the process compared to local enterprises.

Perhaps for business or commercial sake at that time, finished products were more the end than the means to become original international brands. But we now have a better understanding and believe that to achieve this OBM status, it does not stop at just creating a product or part of a product for someone. It has to be a ‘complete’ creation that has a brand and market to it; ideally a range and not just a singular stand-alone item. With this aim, the scale and quality of resources need to be enhanced and extended. Practicing designers need to open up and engage these resources in the ecosystem; such as marketing, branding, networking, technology, distributorship, and market knowledge.

However, there are issues and situations that require change and improvement outside the realm of the design studio, lab, workshop, or factory. Most importantly, the industry itself needs to be well-informed and willing to embrace this aim of achieving OBM. It must be truly empathetic and recognise the role, function, and prospective value of designers and design. And concurrently, the Government needs to intensify their support, endorsement, and recognition of design as a significant economic mover.

With perseverance, increased tenacity, and collaborative resources, designers should be able and willing to lead in the pursuit for OBMs in these trying times. Fuel it with passion!

Khairul Hazrin Hashim | Associate, rekanegara

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